UCL Institute of Ophthalmology


Bioscience Entrepreneurship MSc

A new integrated curriculum combining management and life science expertise to prepare you for a future in the biotechnology industry and bioscience enterprise.

This programme is delivered jointly with the UCL School of Management.

Start date: September 2022
Duration: 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time

For key information, including tuition fees and entry requirements, visit the UCL Graduate Prospectus.

Programme Structure

The Bioscience Entrepreneurship MSc is designed for students who intend to start and run high impact enterprises in the life sciences sector. It is ideal for you if you have a science degree and an interest in enterprise or your own start-up. The programme will allow you to develop skills and strategies for identifying science-based solutions in response to need, exploring their potential as innovations and shaping opportunities for these to be developed and actualised.

You will be taught by business, technology and research experts including those who have pioneered Al breakthroughs developed with Moorfields Eye Hospital and DeepMind, stem cell-based discoveries for regenerative treatments, and neuroscience innovations through the Cortex Lab.

Apply now

 Compulsory modules

Bioscience Startups

This module aims to provide students with a substantial understanding of what defines and shapes a start up, appraising the academic perspective (how, when and why should one form a start-up), how to value your asset(s), differences between ‘know-how’ and intellectual property, and will place this analysis in the contexts of the investor perspective, financial management and company legal obligations.

Students will consider sources of investment such as venture capital, how a start up is structured with regard to share holders, directors and employees, and the various responsibilities of each, how successive rounds of investment work, and impact on control of the company and decision-making, and the inevitability of dilution of equity. We will look at key inflexion points, what these mean and their impact on company value, decisions to go to initial public offering, or possible sale to a big pharma/biotech, with a basic understanding of the processes involved.

Science of Diseases

This module aims to provide a substantial understanding of the scope of the science driving the translational biomedicine field. This includes our current state of knowledge about the biological mechanisms that underlie the most relevant disease as well as the currently available options for diagnosing and treating such diseases. 

Research in Practice

This module aims to develop in students the knowledge and skills required for conducting research with clinical populations in workplace contexts. The module addresses essential issues of concern for clinical research including ethical and scientific quality of standards, public engagement in research, and planning for, and evaluating, research impact.  The module brings together students' research interests with knowledge of research methods gained from companion modules and new learning in clinical research governance, to support the transition from research ideas into concrete plans.

Digital Opportunities in Bioscience Entrepreneurship

This module is focused on acquiring a substantial understanding of the development of digital IP and the extent of the current landscape, the development cycle abyss, and methods to overcome it. Other topics will include prototyping methods, translational schemes and finally conversion to function product. These topics will be presented in a way that the learner would be able to critique future products and assess properly what stage they are at, and what methods would be needed to move this idea over the abyss to a function product. This process will be covered in multiple parts to cover the development of data analysis software, database development and curation, digital health (telemedicine) and robotics and other device development.

Digital health has a very important legal framework, eg what is patentable vs trademark vs copyright and what these actually mean legally are highly variable. Students will also get a basic overview of different developmental platforms such as Matlab, Python, C++, Tensorflow, SQL and R, what a project present in each means for process in the developmental path and how this can be improved to make a commercial product.  

Business for Bioscience (School of Management)

The module sits at the interface between bioscience and business, covering the elements of management science that are most relevant to bioscience. Bioscience often has a long, complex route from innovation to implementation. Hence the content includes integration with practice, bioscience firms, medical behaviours, as well as the pillars of intellectual property, regulation and investment choices.  How to gain stakeholder support is also included, for example with regular pitch sessions that ask students to communicate science eg departmental research - to different audiences 

Research and Business Case Project

This module is intended to allow students a substantial research based project in which to apply and refine the skills and knowledge developed through the modules of the programme.
Students will identify a proposal in the context of contemporary research and analysis of both business and science based priorities, outline a research model for development (considering as relevant to the project ; science, pharma, technology and data and associated processes and methodologies), and then appraise and present their findings in the context of business start ups, financial and market based drivers. 

Project proposals have the capacity to encompass a wide range of translational applications, and the project work encourages students to investigate their own enterprise capacity independently and may in some cases identify projects which have immediate developmental potential.   

Students will pick one of the following compulsory modules from the UCL School of Pharmacy:

Pharmaceutical Biotechnology

The module will teach students about key aspects of biotechnology as it relates to the development of medicines for human use. Coverage will include a survey of the medical uses of vaccines, proteins and peptides. Students will learn about recombinant technology, protein purification, characterisation and formulation. A key focus of the module will be to ensure students understand the different classes of proteins (e.g. blood factors, antibodies, alpha helical barrel proteins) that are used clinically.  Discussion will also cover regulatory issues, including biosimilars and biobetters. Future perspective will be provided by covering companion diagnostics and principles of cell based therapies.

Clinical Pharmaceutics

This module will focus on the theory and practice of clinical pharmaceutics: it will consider how the properties of a formulation affect its performance in patients, and will use examples and case studies to illustrate the concepts discussed. In the context of developing new medicines and treatments, we will discuss the unmet clinical need and potential clinical use of a medicine.

Polymers in Drug Delivery

This module will consider in detail the use of polymers in drug delivery systems. It will first revise some fundamental concepts in drug delivery, before covering key aspects of polymer chemistry (synthesis and characterization). It will then describe the properties of polymer/drug composites, their characterization, and effects on drug solubility, release rates and mechanisms. The module will finish with discussion of some leading contemporary polymer-based drug delivery systems, and consider the likely future direction of this field.

Optional modules

From the following modules, students choose one from the School of Pharmacy (SoP) and two from the School of Management (SoM):

Pharmaceutical Biotechnology (SoP)
Clinical Pharmaceutics (SoP)
Polymers in Drug Delivery (SoP)
Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice (SoM)
Entrepreneurial Finance (SoM)
Decision and Risk Analysis (SoM)
Leadership and Communication (SoM)
Strategic Project Management (SoM)
Formulation of Natural Products and Cosmeceuticals (SoP)
Patient and Data Pathways Through Clinical Trials (ICTM)
Applying Clinical Trial Design Principles in Practice (ICTM)

Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice

This is UCL's principal Entrepreneurship course for students who are actively seeking to develop and test a new business idea. It is most relevant to  those who are considering forming their own business  but is also valuable for “intrapreneurs”  promoting new initiatives within existing organisations. 
Through the study of existing high-potential ventures and the development of a business feasibility plan the course provides deep insights regarding critical success factors  (desirability feasibility and viability) along with strategies to attract and retain the necessary resources (personal, technical and finance) to launch a new venture. 
In doing so the course seeks to develop the entrepreneurial skills, behaviours and attitudes that are essential for individuals seeking to create and capture value through innovative business activities.
Click to visit module page

Entrepreneurial Finance

This module provides the necessary knowledge and skills to enable a student to understand the nature and characteristics of financial planning in the context of entrepreneurship. This involves the understanding of the key financial statements (Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow); the financial planning process; the financial risks/rewards of entrepreneurship and innovation; new venture financial models and strategies; typical funding sources; the development of business presentations to attract outside funding; the due diligence process; and the strategies for negotiations for funding.
Click to visit module page

Decision and Risk Analysis

Important business decisions cannot be left to intuition alone. We need to communicate the structure of our reasoning, defend it to adversarial challenges and make presentations that show we have done a thorough analysis. We also need to make sense out of various sources of data, organise the inputs of experts and colleagues, and use state-of-the-art tools to provide analytical support for our reasoning.

The objective of this course is to equip you to be more effective in these tasks. You will develop skills in data analysis, structuring decisions, building decision models, risk assessment, decision making under uncertainty, recognising areas where business analysis can add value, selecting appropriate types of analyses and learn to apply them in a small scale, quick-turnaround fashion.
Click to visit module page

Leadership and Communication

This module prepares students to understand and apply the principles behind Leadership as a phenomenon situated in a context. It gives students the opportunity to practise and develop their own leadership and communication skills through both the study of theory, and the application of these theories through analysis and practice. There are many examples discussed and many opportunities to practise.
Click to visit module page

Strategic Project Management

This module introduces the basic principles of project, programme and portfolio management, and some key tools and techniques to initiate, plan and manage projects and programmes in particular. Portfolio management is considered in the wider context of business strategy and essential management skills such as leadership, team building and conflict management are explored in the context of projects and programmes. Focus is on giving students a practical framework based on industry experience and standards.
Click to visit module page

To find out more about this programme and apply, visit the UCL Graduate Prospectus

On completion of this programme, you will have:

  • An enhanced understanding of the intersection between biosciences and business
  • Substantial research and analytical skills and methodologies which support scientific and business entrepreneurship
  • Effective written and verbal communication skills, which support information and data management
  • Knowledge of the ethical, legal and regulatory issues associated with bringing scientific advances to market
  • The capacity to identify potential business opportunities arising from research in life sciences and related areas
  • The ability to exploit entrepreneurial opportunities independently or within larger organisations.